By Chris Huff
"Beep, beep, beep," echoes in the kitchen as the coffee maker calls out to you. Morning has come. Moments later, coffee cup in hand, you check your Facebook account, Twitter feed, and the day's weather forecast. You scan your email and notice a daily devotional titled, "Pray without Ceasing" which you decide you'll read...later.
Have you replaced the command of "pray without ceasing" with "work without ceasing?" Morning prayer time has been replaced with "caffienate-myself-out-of-a-coma." Evening prayer time has turned into "I'm too tired, I'll pray in the morning." Don't worry, you're not the only one who has fallen into this trap.
Being in a ministry leadership position, ultimately working to further God's Kingdom, you can't afford to be too tired to pray. You must be diligent in your desire to be in a growing relationship with God.
The book of 1 Thessalonians provides a wonderfully simple, yet powerful outline of how you can keep your God-relationship growing.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NASB) reads;
“16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1. Rejoice Always
Times get tough, you are sick, your child is ill...pray, pray, pray. Everyone is finally healthy..."let's go celebrate." Real rejoicing isn't about only celebrating when the bad times come to an end or the blessings of your good times. It's about how God is for you in all of your situations, all of the time. He will not let anything or anyone separate you from His love. And His love is lavish, eternal, and beyond anything you could ever image.
Rejoicing is being joyous above your circumstances because, as Romans 8 reminds all of us, when God is for you, who can be against you?
"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." (Phil 4:4 - KJV)
2. Pray without Ceasing
Do not let your prayer time be limited to a time or a place. Prayer is the most powerful connection God gives us. It's time to see prayer differently.
See prayer as a conversation with the one who loved you enough to send His son to die for you. Just like the marriage relationship, your relationship with the Lord requires active communication and the moment the conversation starts waning is the moment the relationship start suffering.
See prayer as a gift. Jesus died to make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace with confidence. Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) says, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
See prayer as a power. Prayer gives you the power to live a life that brings glory to God. As my wife reminded me, "the enemy hates prayer because it strengthens your intimacy with God!"
Be in prayer daily and let those prayers become your guiding factor throughout the day.
3. In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Gratitude is a choice. Psalm 136 is a tremendous song of praise and gratitude that starts in verse one (NIV) with the words, "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever."
Give thanks for the blessings He has bestowed on you. Give thanks for your spouse, your children, your joys, and even, yes, your pains. Looking specifically at your work in technical production, give thanks He choose you as His instrument, give thanks for your church and the people who attend. Give thanks that He is in your life. In the words of Lamentations 3:22-23 (NASB), "The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is [His] faithfulness."
This week, choose to begin being each morning with gratitude. Throughout your day, pray without ceasing. Share your thoughts, joys, sorrows, and concerns with Him. He cares for you. Finally, as your day draws to a close, thank Him for who He is and what He is accomplishing in and through you.
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